While horses still stroll up and down the busy streets of New York, the city's mayor is hatching plans to retire them for good. A bill that would both ban the horse carriages and require that the horses are not sold to slaughterhouses is slated to be introduced in December, Capital New York reports. Two sources who have seen the draft legislation explained the details:
The mayor's plan would take several steps to phase out horse carriages by 2016. The bill would not renew licenses to operate the carriage horses, which are set to expire in May of 2016, according to the sources. The bill would also make it illegal to drive horse-drawn carriages in the city, unless as part of a parade or movie screening.
An oft-cited drawback of retiring the carriage horses is the fear that they'll end up in a slaughterhouse. But according to Capital, the legislation would require horse owners to notify officials at City Hall 10 days before giving away or selling their horses, and ensure that they are never sold for slaughter. As The Dodo reported in January, several sanctuaries have already pledged to take in the carriage horses when a ban goes through.
The plan also includes provisions for training carriage drivers to get licenses to operate green taxis (cabs that operate chiefly in the outer boroughs of New York). A replacement antique-style e-carriage has also been proposed as an alternative.
Animal advocates, who cite accidents and injuries involved with carriages and say that the horses suffer in busy traffic, have been awaiting the bill since de Blasio's first day in office.
"We applaud Mayor de Blasio for his consistent support of animal rights," Allie Feldman, executive director of the organization NYCLASS, which has been campaigning to ban horse carriages, told The Dodo. The organization is hosting a rally in support of Mayor de Blasio at New York's City Hall on Tuesday. "This creative solution will benefit all New Yorkers by adding jobs while also ending an unsafe and inhumane industry."
Once it's introduced, the bill will need to be passed by the City Council, and an environmental review will be conducted. If all goes as planned, the city's carriage horses will be walking on grass instead of concrete by May 2016.